By Cathy Pauley, Sacramento BattalionAugust 12, 2011
AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. -- Brandon Matel was surfing the Internet when he came across an application to become an Accessions Command Teen Panel member. Brandon felt he would be a good fit for the panel because of his confidence and leadership, so he applied.
"I am a leader who isn't afraid to ask questions," he said. "I love the feeling of leading a group to success and reaching goals, but take full responsibility when I fail as a leader."
Though he was not selected for the national panel, 15-year-old Matel is now focused on the local level where he has agreed to be the Youth Program Coordinator for North Bay Recruiting Company. He brings a rock-solid résumé that includes leadership roles in American Canyon High School band (he was selected as Drum Major for 2011-2012 school year), Sophomore Class President (2011-2012), Kiwanis Key Club, National Honors Society and two years with the Napa Valley Youth Symphony. His experience includes living the life as an "Army brat." His dad, Sgt. 1st Class Albert Matel, has been in the U.S. Army for almost 17 years and during Brandon's lifetime has been assigned to seven duty stations.
The family -- Brandon, younger brother Bryan, parents Albert and Imelda "Mimie" and family dog, Tytan -- live in American Canyon where Brandon hopes to complete his senior year. Albert Matel is the Station Commander for Napa Army Career Center.
Sacramento Battalion Soldier and Family Assistance Program Manager Vicky Cameron said Brandon will be volunteering his services for the Army Family Action Program and during the Battalion Annual Training Conference and Battalion Family Organizational Day. For North Bay Recruiting Co., Brandon will send letters to incoming teens as part of the youth sponsorship program and will work with the Family Readiness Group during North Bay planned family events.
As program coordinator, Brandon wants to meet all the youth in North Bay Company first so they are comfortable enough to ask him questions.
"I'm very social and I like to introduce myself," he said. "If people are comfortable with me they will ask questions. And it helps that we all have something in common -- we all have one parent in the military."
Brandon understands how difficult it is for children of military families -- especially teens -- to say good-bye to their friends.
"I believe that best of friends stick with you forever," he said.
Brandon's strengths in school are math and science and he has aspirations to become a doctor. His passion, however, is music. He plays guitar, piano and the ukulele in his free time and plays the clarinet at first chair in his high school band. Brandon likes the fact that in band, everyone has to listen.
"The melody, bass and structure ties our instruments together and we all sound like one person."
Outside of school, Brandon was recently confirmed in his faith at St. Basil Catholic Church in Vallejo and is enrolled in a discipleship class that will allow him to assist Sunday School teachers once he completes the year-long program.
"I love to help people and I'm very outgoing. I like to include kids who seem left out," he said. "When you move around a lot you get to know people -- it builds a sense of character and you see the world from a different perspective. The whole world is a place you can fit into."
Albert and Imelda Matel are very proud of Brandon.
"When he was young, he was always very positive and believed he could make a difference and change the world little by little," Albert Matel said. "As parents we learn from him and sometimes wonder who the parent is."